Is it really our parents' fault? The influence of relationships on innovation behavior

Raised of $2,950 Goal
Ended on 2/05/18
Campaign Ended
  • $451
  • 16%
  • Finished
    on 2/05/18

About This Project

At a very early age, we learn to cope with our emotions based on the availability of our parents in critical situations. This experience ultimately leads us to behave in certain ways, as a child and later as an adult. I intend to explore how these early social relationships and the thereof resulting personal attachment style influence peoples' innovation behavior within organizations. Is it really our parents' fault when we are unable to be innovative?

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What is the context of this research?

Relationships play a crucial role for humans, but also for organizations. Network theory, for example, teaches us that maintaining social relationships has a positive effect for both individuals and collective teams across companies (3) (11). To further explore the relevance of relationships in organizations, I will use a fundamental psychological theory, attachment theory, that helps us to better understand the emotions and behavior of managers in organizations. Attachments are mental representations of oneself and of others, which center around the availability and responsiveness of others, as well as the worthiness of the self, which inevitably leads to certain behavioral responses in everyday life.

What is the significance of this project?

Organizations face a great deal of uncertainty with a rapidly changing economic and political climate. Functional leadership and strong emotional capabilities may be critical at this time, and identifying qualities of good leaders is crucial for survival of these organizations.
Strategic issues often occur at the top of an organization, i.e. at top management level, and then trickle down the organization. By looking more closely at what happens at the top, how and why managers behave in a certain way, we can hopefully create better organizations that serve all stakeholders involved, including an organization's employees, its customers but also society at large.

What are the goals of the project?

I plan to do an experiment with 120 persons. Participants will be recruited online and through the university.

Experimental design:

Participants will be asked to take part in a small game. Each of the two participant groups will receive different task descriptions, with the treatment group receiving a more demanding task description than the control group. By assessing each participant's individual attachment type using the Experience-In-Close-Relationships (ECR-R) scale by Fraley et al. (6) and evaluating his or her emotional reaction to the task using the Affective Response scale (4), I will be able to conclude how the individual's personal relationships influence his/her behavioral tendencies, in this case, his or her exploration (= innovation) behavior.


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The funds will be absolutely crucial to the project because they are used to pay participants of the experiment. I currently do not have any other funding for this project, therefore I am very much relying on your generosity in order to complete this project.

Other expenses are the fees payable to and for any expenses incurring to recruit participants.

Endorsed by

Anne's project is very exciting! I'm looking forward the results.

Flag iconProject Timeline

During the crowdfunding campaign, I will provide backers with a questionnaire and information that helps them to assess their own attachment type (see "Additional Information").

I plan to conduct the pre-test experiment by end of February. I will then analyze the results and provide project backers with an overview of the preliminary results by 28 February 2018. The full lab experiment will be conducted at the Behavioral Lab at the University of St.Gallen and will take place until End of April.

Jan 10, 2018

Project Launched

Jan 22, 2018

Provide project backers with attachment questionnaire

Feb 20, 2018

Conduct pre-test (once funding is secured)

Feb 28, 2018

Provide project backers with overview of preliminary results

Feb 28, 2018

Preliminary analysis of  results

Meet the Team

Anne Rickelt
Anne Rickelt
Research Associate & PhD Student


University of St.Gallen
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Anne Rickelt

Anne started her PhD at the University of St.Gallen in February 2015. She started working at the Institute of Management with Prof. Dr. Dr. Tomi Laamanen in March 2016. Her research interest lies in the area of managerial and organizational cognition.

Anne holds a Master’s degree in Service Management from Copenhagen Business School (Denmark) and a Bachelor’s degree in International Business & French from European Business School London (United Kingdom). During her studies, she spent two semesters abroad at University of St.Gallen (Switzerland) and Université Paris-Dauphine (France).

Professional Career
Prior to her employment at the Institute of Management, Anne held several positions at the University of St.Gallen. She previously worked in Marketing at Accenture Switzerland and completed several internships in London, Paris and various cities in Germany.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Additional Information

Since its beginnings in the 1960s, attachment theory has received quite a bit of attention in psychology and has since become a fundamental theory in the field - but not in management.
I believe that we can learn a lot about how people behave based on their attachment type and research has proven that it also has a great influence on their behavior at work (8), i.e. organizations are most certainly affected by the day-to-day behavior of its employees. Therefore, I strongly believe that we should study the influence of personal relationships (attachment) of employees on organizational outcomes.

Benefits for Project Backers
Throughout the campaign starting January 10, I will provide project backers with a questionnaire and information that helps them to assess their own attachment type. This will help them to better understand how and why they form personal relationships and how their attachment may influence their (work) behavior.
Furthermore, all backers' names will appear in an article on our Institute's website:

Participant Compensation

Each participant in the experiment will receive compensation for his time of approx. 20 Swiss Francs (roughly 21 USD).

You may be wondering why we pay participants to take part in experiments. Why do they not just participate for free? Well, compensation is very crucial because participants will generally be much more willing to participate in the first place and will also be more motivated to consciously take part in the experiment, which ensures that results are not distorted.

Future research
This experiment is one of a set of experiments needed to answer the overall research questions of how personal relationships influence people's decision behavior.

(1) Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1969). Object Relations, Dependency , and Attachment : A Theoretical Review of the Infant-Mother Relationship. Society for Research in Child Development, 40(4), 969–1025.

(2) Bartholomew, K., & Horowitz, L. M. (1991). Attachment styles among young adults. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(2), 226–244.

(3) Brass, D. J., Galaskiewicz, J., Greve, H. R., & Tsai, W. (2004). Taking Stock of Networks and Organizations: A Multilevel Perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 47(6), 795–817.

(4) Bruner II, G. C. (2009). Marketing Scales Handbook (5th ed., Vol. 5). Carbondale, Illinois: GCBII Productions.

(5) Døjbak Håkonsson, D., Eskildsen, J. K., Argote, L., Mønster, D., Burton, R. M., & Obel, B. (2016). Exploration versus exploitation: Emotions and performance as antecedents and consequences of team decisions. Strategic Management Journal, 37(6), 985–1001.

(6) Fraley, R. C., Waller, N. G., & Brennan, K. a. (2000). An item response theory analysis of self-report measures of adult attachment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(2), 350–365.

(7) Feeney, B. C., & Thrush, R. L. (2010). Relationship influences on exploration in adulthood: the characteristics and function of a secure base. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(1), 57–76.

(8) Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. R. (1990). Love and work: An attachment-theoretical perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(2), 270.

(9) Isen, A. M. (2001). An Influence of Positive Affect on Decision Making in Complex Situations: Theoretical Issues With Practical Implications. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 11(2), 75–85.

(10) Shaver, P. R., & Brennan, K. A. (1992). Attachment Styles and the “Big Five” Personality traits: Their Connections With Each Other and With Romantic Relationship Outcomes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18(5), 536–545.

(11) Uzzi, B. (1996). The Sources and Consequences of Embeddedness for the Economic Performance of Organizations : The Network Effect. American Sociological Review, 61(4), 674–698.

Project Backers

  • 3Backers
  • 16%Funded
  • $451Total Donations
  • $150.33Average Donation
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